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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Annie is the 1982 version of the popular radio show, comic strip, and Broadway musical. Overall it's a charming and entertaining movie for the whole family. But for families sensitive to scenes of drunken behavior, it's important to note that Miss Hannigan (played by Carol Burnett), the caretaker of the run-down orphanage where Annie lives, is often (comically) intoxicated, slurring her speech and clutching bottles of liquor. There are also occasional references to sex ("make hay," "tumble in the bundle"). Cartoonish violence pops up from time to time: A "Bolshevik" throws a lit bomb into Daddy Warbucks' office, and Annie hangs from a bridge after getting chased by the bad guys. And there's some uncomfortable stereotyping in the form of the Punjab character. Still, what emerges overall are the unforgettable songs and the plucky determination of Annie as she goes from rags to riches.
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What's the story?
In this film version of the Broadway musical about the parentless Depression-era moppet, spunky red-haired ANNIE (Aileen Quinn) suffers indignities from tough orphanage supervisor Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett). Ever-hopeful Annie dreams of the day her parents arrive to retrieve her, often singing songs and dancing to the delight of the other orphan girls. Hoping to boost his approval rating with local voters, rich politician Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) takes Annie in for a week at his swanky Manhattan mansion. Annie wins over her new caretakers, but Miss Hannigan and her cronies Lily (Bernadette Peters) and Rooster (Tim Curry) see an opportunity to increase their cash flow.
Is it any good?
This film of the Broadway musical is uneven, but its charms take over by the end. The songs are a mixed bag -- "Dumb Dog" is just not all that good, but "It's the Hard-Knock Life" is one you'll have stuck in your head for days, and by the time Annie sings "Tomorrow" to President Roosevelt, you'll be singing it along with her.
Some of the performances are outstanding, particularly Burnett as the drunken Miss Hannigan. In the title role of Annie, Quinn is a fine singer but a bit wooden as an actress. But the orphan girls are adorable, and Finney is wonderfully brusque but really an old softy as Daddy Warbucks.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about musicals like Annie. Why do you think musicals have been popular, on both Broadway and in film?
What do you see as the challenges in turning a Broadway musical into a movie?
What are some of the ways in which 1930s New York City -- and America -- are shown in the movie?
- In theaters: June 9, 1982
- On DVD or streaming: August 1, 2004
- Cast: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett
- Director: John Huston
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Great Girl Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Courage, Gratitude
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: peril
- Last updated: May 18, 2020
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